I have previously mentioned the student protests on QandA here at the Sandpit and as such protests have become more common of late I thought that I would share this little opinion piece written by Amanda Vanstone, who manages to sum up just what is wrong with these protests rather nicely:
Their protests, however, reveal something much more than misplaced self-importance. Their actions run counter to the very thing for which universities are meant to be a haven – namely, civilised debate.
This gaggle of would be’s if could be’s are just louts in disguise. They are bullies of the highest order. If you want to say or do something with which they disagree, they believe they are entitled to censor your speech by drowning it out in protest or making those responsible for your safety feel so uncertain as to require that you leave a venue.
To cap off their me-me-me attitude, they expect to be able to use force of volume and numbers to get their way but think it completely unreasonable when security personnel step in and bring their little drama to an end. It’s pathetic in one sense, and a complete outrage in another.
Protests are, in my view, a good thing. They are a sign of the freedom we all enjoy. But what some protesters fail to understand is everyone else’s right to go about their business undisturbed. Sadly, the right to protest has become for all too many the right to ruin anyone else’s day just because they want to be on telly.
Universities should not tolerate the type of thuggery we have seen over the past few weeks.
It seems odd that university students, the very people who should be excited by debate of ideas, should be the ones who seek to drown out any voices but their own. When their voice is used to protect their own self-interest rather than to advance the rights of those without a voice, we can see the ugly face of the me-me-me generation. This kind of behaviour has direct parallels with dictators in one-party states who use their power to silence any criticism.
Everyone who is unhappy with the decisions of a properly elected government, not just the students, might care to reflect on life in a one-party state. In such states planning is often much longer term, welfare is inevitably much much leaner, and the views of dissidents are often silenced in a manner we find unconscionable.